November 02, 2007

JPost Attributes Nuke Attack On Syria To Al Jazeera, Proving the Incompetence of Both Media Outlets

I suppose I should find it somewhat comforting to note that the international press is just as lazy as the American media, but when the subject is as deadly-serious as alleging a nuclear weapons attack, "comforting" is not the word that comes to mind.

The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.

The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.

The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.

At the beginning of October, Israel's military censor began to allow the local media to report on the raid without attributing their report to foreign sources. Nevertheless, details of the strike have remained clouded in mystery.

As AllahPundit notes, it doesn't seem that this story is on the al Jazeera web site, so if it was published, it certainly didn't make it into the English-language version. JPost was sloppy in not proving more specific detail about the al Jazeera report, and for a claim of this magnitude, should have collected a screen capture or provided a link to the article.

If the JPost attribution is accurate, then al Jazeera article should be rebuked as lazy pandering to it's reader base of the lowest order, blatant propaganda, and incompetent reporting.

A few simple minutes of web searching would have revealed that tactical nuclear weapons suitable for this kind of attack, such as variants of the B61 or the ground-penetrating variant known as the B61-11, would have created a massive and distinctive signature, as noted by

A 1-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated 20 to 50 feet underground would dig a crater the size of Ground Zero in New York and eject 1 million cubic feet of radioactive debris into the air. Detonating a similar weapon on the surface of a city would kill a quarter of a million people and injure hundreds of thousands more.

Nuclear weapons cannot be engineered to penetrate deeply enough to prevent fallout. Based on technical analysis at the Nevada Test Site, a weapon with a 10-kiloton yield must be buried deeper than 850 feet to prevent spewing of radioactive debris. Yet a weapon dropped from a plane at 40,000 feet will penetrate less than 100 feet of loose dirt and less than 30 feet of rock. Ultimately, the depth of penetration is limited by the strength of the missile casing. The deepest current earth penetrators, the B61 Mod 11, can burrow is 20 feet of dry earth. Casing made of even the strongest material cannot withstand the physical forces of burrowing through 100 feet of granite, much less 850 feet.

Even a minimal level of Internet research would have revealed that it is impossible for a nuclear warhead to have been used without immediate and noticeable effects including a massive crater, something approaching a million cubic feet of radioactive material being ejected into the air, and of course, a massive seismic shockwave that would have been recorded by other nations around the region.

Photographic evidence shows no such crater. There has been no radioactive fallout recorded in the region, nor was distinctive nuclear seismic shockwave reported by friend or foe.

Reporters for both al Jazeera and the JPost should have known that this story was hihgly suspect from the beginning and could have easily debunked it with minimal reasearch, but they obviously didn't want to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 2, 2007 10:47 AM

JPost and Jazzy getting newstips from Debka now?

Posted by: Doc at November 2, 2007 11:01 AM

I suppose the possibility that the JPost simply made this story up never occured to you? Logically, it should be considered - yet you don't.

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig at November 2, 2007 11:17 AM

I thought that "so if it was published" rahter implied that possibility, but perhaps I was being too subtle.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 2, 2007 11:38 AM

Compared with "al Jazeera article should be rebuked as lazy pandering to it's reader base of the lowest order, blatant propaganda, and incompetent reporting"? Yep, too subtle. :-)

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig at November 2, 2007 12:07 PM

No way this could be a tactical nuclear strike.

Nuclear weapons of any type leave distinctive signatures, which a good university physics lab can detect. Nuclear weapons used above ground, as they would have had to be used, leave huge signatures.

First of all -- when the weapon goes off it leaves a huge optical, RF, EMP, and radiation burst signature. At a minimum, you should see a big hole in the ground or big scorched area (assuming an airburst). The EMP from a weapon used in that location would have easily observable consequences ranging from Iraq to Turkey to Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. Were there massive power failures and distruption of electrical service and other items at that time? No...

The flash of the blast should have been seen in broad daylight for 100 miles in any direction. That was not seen. The US, British, Chinese, Russian and other space-based warning systems should have picked up the signature from the blast, and it would be all over the nets. They did not, and the nets have been silent on a potential nuclear blast.

The shock of the blast itself would be measurable either through acoustic waves through the air (which are monitored globally at a number of sites), or through seismic sensors. At a minimum, the major network of seismic sensors in Turkey (since Turkey is prone to earthquakes, as are countries like Iran), would have picked it up. A nuclear blast looks different than a natural earthquake, and can be detected this way.

Lastly, a ground blast would have created a radioactive dust cloud. Remnants of the dust cloud and the radioactive signature of the blast can be detected months later and thousands of miles away -- the last above ground nuclear testing by the Chinese were tracked twice around the world. Any university physics lab can do this, and back date it to time of blast (by looking at the relative decay rates of the different elements found in the dust).

Bottom line -- NO WAY this was a nuclear blast. Sounds like the "nuclear hand grenades" that the Ugandas under Idi Amin said the Israeli's used at Entembee Airport.

Posted by: Larrison at November 2, 2007 12:10 PM

The story doesn't pass the smell test, and JPost should have done more digging to show what the al Jazeera website was posting and how they came on that information.

The fact is that there are so many problems with the story that it boggles the mind. Why would the US need Israeli aircraft to fly cover when US strategic bombers wouldn't need them at all. B-2 bomber anyone? And if the US tasked B1 or B52s, then they would use standoff weapons to fire from well over the horizon. Why complicate matters by throwing in Israeli aircraft that aren't stealthy or might get hit by air defense systems.

It just doesn't add up.

Then, there's the practical matter of the use of a tactical nuke. Where's the evidence that one was used? Crater? Fallout? EMP? There would be one or more of the above if a nuke was used, and yet nothing - especially from the Syrians.

Posted by: lawhawk at November 2, 2007 01:02 PM

I can see, "from a Syrian perspective," how this claim might make some "logical sense;"

How else would you explain it away, to the international investigative team, that the traces of radioactivity in the debris don't support your original assertion that the facility was a "baby formula" factory?

Posted by: everydayjoe at November 2, 2007 02:02 PM

Boy, Cernig was right on top of this as usual!

Heh, can anyone say a day late and a dollar short?

Posted by: daleyrocks at November 2, 2007 02:10 PM

excellent, everydayjoe!

Posted by: anybody at November 2, 2007 03:03 PM

It appears that Murdoch's JPost forgot to mention that the entire story (translate it here) rests on the word of an anonymous Israeli businessman.

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig at November 2, 2007 04:36 PM

From the before/after sat pics even a drooling moron should know that no nuke went off there. That site was scrubbed with a D9 Cat, not a nuke.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 2, 2007 06:39 PM

everydayjoe --

You'll see different isotopic ratios in the debris from a bomb and from a reactor. You set different relative concentrations between having something in a reactor for weeks to months, than having something in a bomb blast (microsecond exposure). Plus you can date when the reaction or irradiation took place by looking at the relative abundance of different isotopes with differing half lifes. You can tell when the reactor was turned on, refueled, etc with some accuracy -- that will be different than a "flash" irradiation you'd see in a bomb blast.

Posted by: Larrison at November 2, 2007 06:58 PM

You're all confused. The MRR weapons developed by Israel with US help will have none of the effects mentioned in your comments as "proof" that a nuke could not have been used in the attack on Syria. I suggest that you start reading the facts about MRR weapons (starting with the article at and spare us the BS.

Posted by: Joe at November 2, 2007 07:45 PM

Oh, good Lord... the anti-Semitic Troofers have arrived, CY!

Take a good look at some of the ads on the main page of and see if you'd consider any of them to be purveyors of accurate information.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 2, 2007 07:48 PM


No matter what BS you've been reading about fission reactions, please acceed to someone who actually knows and understands the process.

Larrison is correct in his statements. Any fission reaction creates a unique set of isotopes of the same elements. Each isotope has a very rigid half-life. The fissile material may be specifically identified by these isotopes. There are many ways to do this investigation from spectroscopy to physical sampling of air and soil.

Reactor controlled fission produces isotopes at a defined rate with respect to the amount of material being used up in the reaction. Explosive fission is a one-time deal and also just as easily defined. Remember E=MC^2?

I doubt CY would appreciate a discussion centered upon nuclear and quantum physics on these pages. However, if you are so inclined, I would be happy to educate you on the subject.

(now where'd I put my notes from Nuclear and Quantum....)

Posted by: Mark at November 2, 2007 08:16 PM

Ah hells, I'm supposedly a moonbat and even I don't consider Rense a credible source. :-)

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig at November 2, 2007 08:17 PM

Oh, I think we'll leave up the link for the humor content, but the next place "Joe" will be posting is over at Loose Change... or Ron Paul's Campaign blog.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 2, 2007 08:18 PM

Cernig, there are moonbats, and then there are moonbats, if ya get my meaning.

Joe there is clearly of the latter type.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 2, 2007 08:22 PM

Rense, now there's a real credible and reliable source of information...boldly going where even Weekly World News dare not tread.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 3, 2007 02:40 AM

To Confederate Yankee:
Their is no such creature. You are either a Confederate or a Yankee. This might explain your derogatry reference to Ron Paul. The only candidate with any respect for the Constitution. I expect you are a true believer in the Word of George Bush, the man who called the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper". You obviously want a totalitarian state to tell you when to blow your nose or wipe your rear.

Chuck "A True Son of the Confederacy"

Posted by: Chuck Hobbs at November 3, 2007 06:17 PM

Er... Chuck... if we're in a totalitarian state, why haven't they rounded you up and shot you yet? And why are you not worried about it?

I suspect that you're Joe with another sock on your hand.

Good day, sir. I said, good day!

Posted by: C-C-G at November 3, 2007 09:14 PM

Oh, by the way, Chuck, not to nitpick, but...

"Their" indicates possession. "There" is the word you want.

"Derogatory" has two o's.

"The only candidate with any respect for the Constitution" is not a complete sentence.

If this is the best you Ron Paul supporters can come up with, it's no wonder you have to vote multiple times on online polls to keep his name in the news.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 3, 2007 09:16 PM


From personal knowledge, and just for future reference, the numbers on that refer to bunker busters and nukes are way off.

The numbers quoted for a 1-kiloton weapon detonation are off-base and not close to what a real weapon would do.

GlobalS. is a good site, but when it comes to some matters that are obscured by classified materials (such as nuclear penetrators and standard bunker busters), they can be way off. I also know for a fact that their statement on depth of penetration for aerial dropped ground penetrators is misstated.

Nuclear detonation signatures cannot be hidden, but they are a LOT cleaner than stated here...and radioactivity from a ground penetrator is NOT even close to what has been stated. That having been said, don't think that the Russians and Chinese would remain silent about the use of a nuclear-based weapon by the US against another country.

That's idiocy, when and if the US ever detonates a nuclear weapon again (in anger), we're going to get some press on that worldwide...the Syrian strike was conventional--no nukes were used...they weren't even needed.

Posted by: WB at November 3, 2007 11:33 PM

Given the level of technical ignorance evidenced by AlJeezer and its client recipient listeners, spreading misinformation like this that makes nukes seem like conventional weapons only bigger is an effort to pave the way in justification for their retaliatory use by Iran or Syria - which is a typical "they did it first" propaganda technique.

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